Experiencing Infertility PTSD (part 1 – pregnancy)

You would think that the joy of being pregnant would erase the traumatic ordeal that had been infertility.

It didn’t.

Don’t get me wrong.  I was overwhelmed with happiness that I was finally pregnant, but I was also consumed by fear.  I’m aware that most women experience fear of loss. Pregnancy is scary.   However, I truly believe fear is compounded when you’ve had a loss or gone through infertility (or worse, both).

The desire to be a Mother was so encompassing that I couldn’t imagine living without realizing this dream.  Every ounce of my future happiness was dependent upon the growing life inside of me.  It was hard to shake the thought of something happening to my baby.  I feared what I might become if I experienced another loss.  I was out of funds, energy and hope.  If I lost this pregnancy I knew that I’d become bitter, hopeless and depressed.

There is a weird limbo to being pregnant after you’ve fought an infertility diagnosis.  You have a foot tentatively in both worlds.  Until there’s a baby in arms, it’s hard to get your mind out of the world you’ve just left.  You’re so used to being entrenched in it.

In spite of this, I LOVED being pregnant.  I embraced my changing shape.  I documented each month by going to a local photographer.  I wore the most figure hugging clothes.  I embraced the light whilst silencing the black fear that lurked beneath the surface.  I was conscious of being as positive as possible to infuse my future son with as much bright energy as I could.  And I was genuinely happy.

I didn’t equate being pregnant with having a baby though.  I know this sounds insane.  It felt like it was happening to someone else, not me.  Ultrasounds were an out of body experience.  That baby was actually inside of me?  I couldn’t wrap my head around it.  And while I loved being pregnant and was beyond excited to be a Mother, I didn’t believe it was going to happen until I was on the operating table waiting for him to be born.  There is nothing like a surgeons knife to give me a reality check!

Before that flesh and blood boy was placed on my chest I had fully pictured him only as a cartoon character.  A Pinocchio of sorts.  Like I was the Geppetto wishing for my real boy and never computing he was there all along.

Once my son was in my sight I knew him.  It was him all along.  I knew who he was and I loved him beyond anything I felt possible.  The relief… now I could see him, touch him and hold him it felt like I finally had control.  Infertility was behind me.

It’s one of the hardest things to explain to anyone other than a person who has lived through it.   I named it infertility PTSD but have since discovered that its a recognized syndrome.  I was never diagnosed with having it but there’s no other way to describe how it felt than this.

I thought these feelings would disappear once my son was born but in a strange way they actually just changed shape.  I think they’ll always be with me in some form.

I’d love to hear from others who have had these feelings.  How long did they last for you and did you feel like they changed once the baby was born?

8 thoughts on “Experiencing Infertility PTSD (part 1 – pregnancy)

  1. Hi there! I’m not a mother and have not gone through what you have, but you described your experience so eloquently that made it possible for me to glimpse the “infertility PTSD” you talked about. You’re right, some experiences and the emotions attached to them do still stay with us, only changing in form as we accumulate more experiences.

    I guess that’s part of life–to be able to live through both the good and the bad, and to allow those to change us in some way, but always with the hope that we’re being brought closer still to the core of who we really are. Maybe some fears stay with us, but such may be the mark of immense love. And that same love will also be the one to give us courage.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m only 6 weeks along and this post describes how I feel perfectly. I feel like the entire time we were fighting to get pregnant we were so focused on the short term goal. We never focused too much on the stress or trauma of it because keep fighting was the only option since not having kids wasn’t an option. But now that we’ve got the bfp, I feel like all the stress of the past few years has caught up to me. I still feel broken and let down by my body which makes it hard to have any confidence that this pregnancy will be healthy and successful. It’s so hard. Living in a twilight zone!!!! Thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s really hard. You wait and you wait and you wait, then you get your BFP and enter the new period of waiting. I really don’t think it leaves you til your baby is born and then you start to heal a bit.

      Like

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